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Kate Bush

Kate Bush The Hounds Of Love

Kate Bush Album Reviews

Kate Bush was discovered by Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour as a teenager, and placed into a training scheme by her record label EMI, where she was taken out of school and studied dance, mime and music. Bush quickly blossomed into an outstanding performer; her 1978 debut album, The Kick Inside, released at the age of 19 during the height of punk, was improbably accomplished and successful. It launched the soaring ‘Wuthering Heights’, which despite inspiration from classic literature and clear traces of progressive rock, stayed at number one for a month, making Bush the first female to reach number one of the UK Charts with a self-written song.

Bush’s second album, Lionheart, was rushed out later in 1978, and remains her weakest effort. But with 1980’s Never For Ever she found her feet, and since then she’s slowly built up an outstanding and unique catalogue of exquisite albums. Her peak albums were 1982’s The Dreaming and 1985’s The Hounds of Love, where she compiled most of the music on a Fairlight Synthesizer. But even her 21st century albums have been strong, and she’s one of the few artists where I’d recommend hearing everything she’s done. After years of refusing to tour, Bush performed a series of sellout shows in London in 2014.

Bush’s songs are often romantic, sometimes expressing sensual thoughts about unlikely items like washing machines and snowmen. In a 1980 list she named albums by auteurs like Frank Zappa, David Bowie, Captain Beefheart, and Stevie Wonder among her favourites, and it makes sense, although their influences are filtered through her own unique experiences; growing up with Irish folk music, a classical pianist father, and new age philosophies.

I’ve covered all of Bush’s studio albums below, apart from 2011’s The Directors Cut, which reworks songs from 1989’s The Sensual World and 1993’s The Red Shoes.

Favourite Ten Kate Bush Songs

Cloudbusting
Wuthering Heights
Nocturn
Moments of Pleasure
Love and Anger
Running Up That Hill
Night of the Swallow
Breathing
Experiment IV
Snowed In At Wheeler Street

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Kate Bush The Kick Inside

The Kick Inside – Kate Bush

1978, 8/10. Bush went on to make more ambitious and creative albums, but The Kick Inside is a stunningly assured debut.

Kate Bush Lionheart

Lionheart – Kate Bush

1978, 5.5/10. Bush’s second album focuses on atmosphere and texture, but is disappointing as Bush had little time to write material.

Kate Bush Never For Ever

Never For Ever – Kate Bush

1980, 8.5/10. Brimming with imagination and memorable melodies, Never For Ever would be a career peak for many artists.

Kate Bush The Dreaming

The Dreaming – Kate Bush

1982, 9.5/10. Bush takes more risks and covers more stylistic territory on The Dreaming than some bands do in their entire careers.

Kate Bush The Hounds Of Love

Hounds of Love – Kate Bush

1985, 10/10. While Hounds of Love is as wonderfully bizarre as the rest of Bush’s discography, it’s her most consistent and accessible album.

Kate Bush The Whole Story

The Whole Story – Kate Bush

1986, not rated. Noteworthy for a strong new song (‘Experiment IV’) and a version of ‘Wuthering Heights’ with a newly recorded vocal.

Kate Bush The Sensual World

The Sensual World – Kate Bush

1989, 6.5/10. The Sensual World is far more constrained than Bush’s previous work, and a lot of these songs coast by on atmosphere.

Kate Bush The Red Shoes

The Red Shoes – Kate Bush

1993, 7.5/10. Bloated and commercially oriented, with guest cameos from Eric Clapton, Prince, and Jeff Beck, but the songs are strong.

Kate Bush Aerial

Aerial – Kate Bush

2005, 8.5/10. Bush’s comeback double album is both deeply weird and happily domestic.

Kate Bush 50 Words For Snow

50 Words For Snow – Kate Bush

2011, 7/10. Very relaxed and uniform in feel, with all of the songs built around the theme of snow.

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